Vice produces guide to Congo

It wouldn’t surprise me if Suroosh Avi ends up dead at the end of this series. A host and founder of the well respected Vice TV, Mr Avi recently made his way to The Democratic Republic of Congo — specifically, the conflict-ridden East Congo — to document the mineral trade currently pummeling the country.

Rich in a whole host of minerals that the rest of the world needs, regions of East Congo have been violently contested, with political, big business and humanitarian efforts pulling in all directions. The result is a country still entrenched in the past, with many workers surviving on scraps and widespread poverty

Vice begins their outstanding series in the segment above. The remainder of the series can be found on their site.

Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne celebrates diamond anniversary with bling

A 10th anniversary has many milestones, most notably a piece of diamond jewelry. For the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, a 10th anniversary means $10 deals (diamonds potentially included).

On July 1, the Five Diamond resort is offering $10 specialty priced meals, Champagne, rums and spa treatments, and room packages for the entire month. These offers are limited so you have to book fast to get the deals. Here’s what’s in store for the celebrations:

  • Ten resort view guestrooms for $10 each are available July 5-7, 10-13, 18, 25, 26. Caveat: Reservations may only be made June 10 from 10 am to 2 pm EST by calling 305-365-4582. Set your calendar now.
  • Every Wednesday during the month of July $10 spa treatments including the Key Lime Body Treatment (50 minutes) or Deluxe Sundae Pedicure (45 minutes).
  • On July 14, sip $10 glasses of Moet Chandon Ice Imperial Champagne or sink your teeth into $10 Kobe Beef Sliders.
  • From July 10-15, sip $10 Diamond Mojitos at the resort’s live Latin music venue.
  • Also from July 10-15 and July 17-22, indulge in $10 three-course meals at the resort’s Italian’s restaurant Cioppino. As a bonus, hidden inside one menu each night will be a note that reads, “Celebrate with a complimentary bottle of Champagne!”
  • Every Wednesday in July, purchase $10 mango candles from the spa (regularly $20).

And we did promise you diamonds…

During the month of July, 10 overnight Ritz-Carlton guests will find a 14K white gold pendant necklace featuring a half carat of brilliant round-cut diamonds under their pillow.

But there’s more…For the truly indulgent experience (and for the traveler who wants to make a seriously good impression), the Ritz-Carlton is rolling out the Blue Diamond Escape Package for $60,310.

The 3-day package (named from the traditional 10th anniversary color, which is blue) includes:

  • Rolls Royce Phantom transfer to/from Miami airport to The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne
  • Helicopter tour of Key Biscayne and Miami Beach
  • Access to the exclusive Club Lounge and Club on the Beach
  • Unlimited Spa treatments all three days
  • Private Sensory Odyssey Dinner in the romantic oceanfront gazebo with specially prepared five-course dinner and live music in candle-lit surroundings
  • Dune Cabana experience with Dom Perignon Champagne
  • Private catamaran sail and snorkel adventure with personal butler, lunch and water tour of Stiltsville, an historic group of houses in the middle of Biscayne Bay
  • Around the World Culinary Tour (includes appetizers and signature cocktails) at each of the resort’s internationally inspired restaurants: Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge, Cantina Beach, Cioppino and RUMBAR.
  • Private culinary class with resort chef or a private wine tasting with wine expert and resort Sommelier, Jorge Mendoza.

And yes, there’s another diamond. The package also includes a Natural Blue Diamond pendant necklace from Sabbia jewelers (a rare find) to be placed under your pillow in the evening or presented as you wish.

Just a reminder: All the offers mentioned are on limited availability at the discretion of the hotel, so call ahead!

We’re just wondering: How does this compare to what you did for your 10th anniversary?

Daily Pampering: $18,000 diamond martini at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

There are some things in life you simply never think you’ll see: Planes with back porches, hologram hotel rooms, gold-wrapped sushi, just to name of few. Yet, these things do exist. So, you set your expectations higher and expect that nothing will quite live up to the dreams you’ve conjured in your land of luxury lifestyle. And then, the Ritz-Carlton hands you a diamond martini, and you think you might have just found nirvana.

The only thing better than a good, dry martini (shaken, not stirred) is a good, dry martini with a diamond at the bottom. Enter: The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo’s “Diamonds Are Forever” martini. The drink was designed as a unique way for men to propose to their girlfriend, but who says you need a man to drink a diamond martini? Certainly not me.

Head straight to the 45th floor of the Tokyo hotel and tell the bartender at The Lobby Lounge and Bar that you’d like the jeweled drink. Then, hand over ¥1,800,000 yen (approximately US $18,000) and sip slowly – you don’t want to swallow that priceless stone sitting at the bottom of your martini glass.

The “Diamonds Are Forever” martini is made with chilled Grey Goose vodka with a lime twist and poured over a flawless one-carat diamond. If the diamond doesn’t impress, I’m told the views from the 53rd floor of this Tokyo hotel are worthy of an $18,000 rendezvous.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Shopping in Manhattan’s Diamond District

Manhattan is a great place to find the best of something. Best theater, best food, best art — and definitely best shopping, as long as you’ve got some padding in your bank account. One of the greatest places for a girl to shop in Manhattan is on 47th St between 5th and 6th Avenues, also known as the Diamond District.

New York’s Diamond District is a full city block of sparkly goodness, and whether you want to buy or just gawk, this is the place to come for fine jewelry. With over 2,600 independent businesses in the Diamond District (seriously!), you have no excuse not to shop around. If you get a bad vibe from someone, stay away — you have plenty of other options. Some jewelers have shops of their own, but most operate booths in large jewelry exchanges, which can have hundreds of different vendors all under one roof.

If you want to have a good experience and not get ripped off, start by dressing the part. The more money it looks like you’ve got, the more attention you’ll get. And the more knowledgeable you appear, the less likely you’ll be ripped off. Don’t just throw around buzz words, though. Diamond vendors can tell when you’re just regurgitating some pamphlet on the four C’s. If you want to really know your stuff, take a good look at the Personal Gemologist series at AisleDash. Learn how to tell quality from crap. If a vendor describes something in terms you don’t understand, don’t buy it. While you may be looking at a very pretty ring, you may be buying a synthetic stone, or artificially enhanced piece of jewelry. Find more helpful shopping tips on the Diamond District website here.

Lastly, it’s not in the Diamond District, but your Manhattan jewelry experience isn’t complete until you visit Tiffany & Co, located at 57th St & 5th Ave.

NY Cabbie Gets Crappy Tip, Still Does Good Deed

If you believe in karma, then you know Chowdhury Osman just guaranteed himself countless rewards. First, the Bangladeshi-born Queens taxi driver accepted a passenger’s 30¢ tip on an $11 ride. (That alone is worth some karma points, in my book.) Later, when he discovered that she had left a small bag in his back seat, he spent hours hunting for her so he could return it. What was in the bag? 31 diamond rings. His reward for this selfless act? The woman, who claimed she was a jeweler, gave him $100, which he “grudgingly accepted.”

According to Chowdhury, “When I find something left in my cab, and I can return it to the owner, I feel very happy. I feel proud.” I guess they never heard of “finders keepers” in Bangladesh.